New York State: Unhealthy way to be inviting

Why would a health care company ever locate in New York state?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo obviously doesn’t want them here, something he is making crystal clear with his latest bevy of business-unfriendly taxes and fees included in the state’s 2018-19 proposed budget.

The governor finds himself facing a budget gap of between $1.7 billion and $4.4 billion, depending on whose numbers you use. Either way, there is less money coming in than there are programs on which to spend money.

Cutting spending is hard. We realize that. Every program is championed by someone who will scream bloody murder when there is less money coming in from the state next year. Make no mistake — there is money to be saved throughout New York state government.

Education is rife with areas to cut and streamlined. Social welfare programs can certainly be trimmed if need be. The state’s film industry tax credit could certainly be eliminated tomorrow to save money. Money can be saved on public works projects by getting rid of prevailing wage rates that inflate the costs of projects by between 13 and 25 percent, according to the Empire Center for New York Policy.

We’re sure these ideas won’t be pursued. Instead, Cuomo is proposing nearly a billion in tax and fee hikes.

Most of the new fees and taxes fall on health care companies, including $500 million the state expects to collect when non-profit health insurance companies are sold to for-profit companies; $140 million a year through a 14 percent tax on the net profits of private health insurance companies in New York; $127 million with a tax on drug makers; $90 million with a sales tax on non-residential energy services and $82 million by delaying business tax credits.

Does the governor forget that these companies do provide jobs — in many cases good-paying jobs — to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers or that these companies pay taxes — in some cases, exorbitant taxes — to local cities, towns, counties and school districts?

It’s as if the state views these companies as money trees from which the state can just go out and pick a billion dollars here or a billion dollars there whenever a cash shortage pops up.

Of course, there is no such thing as a money tree. In the real world, we have businesses operating in a high-tax, high-regulation state. And, if we keep increasing taxes and fees, eventually those companies will wither and die — or move to a state that wants them to succeed.